Old SL3 question

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tlukeflynn

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I have a pair of SL3s I bought second hand in year 2000. They served me well for 20 years. I recently purchased a pair of EM ESL x speakers rather than getting new panels for my SL3s. I am happy with the new speakers. What can I do with the old SL3s? The electronics are good as are the woofers, but the panels are on their way out and the cabinets have significant wear. Just wondering if I can recycle or sell the parts?
 

Brad225

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Welcome tlukeflynn,
Thee is some value in the parts though some of them are on the aged side. List them for sale and see what happens is about all you can do.
 

MAGSL3

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Welcome tlukeflynn. I too am new to the forum and own a pair of SL3’s. Mine have the updated binding posts as well as the updated bass switch so Im guessing they are a later version, but Im unsure of the year. I just recently acquired them. My question to you is how is it that you know that your panels are on their way out? Not sure if mine were changed but they are fitted with the clear membranes. Also may be interested in the parts as well keep us posted. Thanks for any insight sir.
 

Robert D

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One way is, how high do you have to set the receiver or pre amp to get the volume right? My Prodigy speakers required +13 db when set by Audyssey. That's worn out!
 

tlukeflynn

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How did I know my panels were on their way out?

One of my channels started to fade (wouldn't get as loud as the other side.) I did a bunch of A/B testing, including swapping the electronics panels from the back of the woofer cabinets from one speaker to the other, and I eventually determined for sure that one of my panels was more muted than the other. In the following weeks, the more muted panel actually stopped producing sound on its bottom almost 8 inches (the low mids).

While doing this analysis, I reached out to Martin Logan about replacement panels. The replacements are not only more than $1,500 for the pair but Martin Logan was also at least a few months out on getting new panels to me. All that cost and waiting, and the idea of restoring my 25ish year old speakers... I elected to plunk down $4K on a pair of ESL X speakers.

I did not realize how far my SL 3 panels had declined until I put the ESL Xs into my system. In the end, I had in fact been pumping the aging SL3s with a shitton of Class D power amplification (and they sounded OK until they started to wilt). When I put the brand new ESL X speakers in the system, the Class D mono blocks were suddenly plenty powerful but entirely too harsh for listening at medium or high volume. I then realized that the SL3s hand probably been losing their edge/nuance/detail for a while.

Needless to say, the set of ensuing changes came at a significant cost (new power amp, interconnect changes, etc), but today the ESL X speakers are performing wonderfully in my evolving system.

I wish the 25ish year old speakers were not seemingly destined (at some point) for a landfill. Wouldn't it be cool if there was something like a trade-in or recycling mentality with these items? Imagine if Martin Logan gave purchasers of new speakers some percentage off a brand new pair (15 percent?) if they handed over an aging pair? Like we pay 85 percent of retail for a new pair and they take away the old ones when the new ones are delivered... I might have gone up to ESL 9s if such an incentive was in play.
 

MAGSL3

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Ok, well that’s definitely the kind of details I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time to explain your experience with your SL3’s. IMHO, An awful lot to experience in diagnosing whether a speaker is performing properly or not; bleh... I agree with upgrading at that point rather than spending the money and waiting ~ not a real incentive to make the existing speaker perform as they should. Definitely I see the marketing in play there. And yes it is unfortunate that the company doesn’t offer some kind of incentive on trade ups. I know of many companies that practice this and seems to benefit all. I’ll keep my ears open for sure but mine seem to be performing up to par at this point as far as I can tell. Hopefully cross my fingers, somewhere along the way the panels on mine were swapped out. There is a rumor out there that the clear panels are the updated panels although I haven’t confirmed this as of yet.
 

Robert D

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I'm very happy I spent $2800 on my replacement Prodigy panels. Can't really afford to spend the money on a new set of 13a or 15a speakers. These sound like what they were back when they were new I imagine.
 

Robert D

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Ok, well that’s definitely the kind of details I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time to explain your experience with your SL3’s. IMHO, An awful lot to experience in diagnosing whether a speaker is performing properly or not; bleh... I agree with upgrading at that point rather than spending the money and waiting ~ not a real incentive to make the existing speaker perform as they should. Definitely I see the marketing in play there. And yes it is unfortunate that the company doesn’t offer some kind of incentive on trade ups. I know of many companies that practice this and seems to benefit all. I’ll keep my ears open for sure but mine seem to be performing up to par at this point as far as I can tell. Hopefully cross my fingers, somewhere along the way the panels on mine were swapped out. There is a rumor out there that the clear panels are the updated panels although I haven’t confirmed this as of yet.
Panels should have a serial number on them that you can use to see when they were built. This site has how to decode it.
 

JonFo

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There is a rumor out there that the clear panels are the updated panels although I haven’t confirmed this as of yet.
It's a fact, none of the original panels on Gen1 speakers had clear spars. Only replacement panels made in the past 14 to 16 years have clear spars.
As noted, the serial number decoder will confirm the exact date of manufacture.
 

Mirolab

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tlukeflynn..... If you still have your old SL3's... why not offer them up for free (or very cheap) to someone who IS willing to restore them?
I'm faced with similar situation, and I'm now in the 2-month waiting period for new panels from ML. I'm willing to pay the $1400 to keep these speakers going. I like the look, size, and sound of them. I can afford new ones if I really wanted, but I like the golden oak trim panel on my SL3's. I wish they'd re-issue a modern version of the SL3 with powered subwoofer. The woofer boxes of the new lineup are just too deep.
 

tlukeflynn

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I may in fact offer them up cheap as you say. I may also restore them myself at some point. When the SL3s started to fail, I was in the middle of some other big system changes and I (needed) working speakers ASAP. I might have played it differently had time been unimportant to me. I loved my SL3s for 20 plus years. I have had the ESL Xs for about 5 months, and I am happy with them too.
 

MAGSL3

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It's a fact, none of the original panels on Gen1 speakers had clear spars. Only replacement panels made in the past 14 to 16 years have clear spars.
As noted, the serial number decoder will confirm the exact date of manufacture.
Thankyou that is good information. I will check it out
 

Robert D

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Thankyou that is good information. I will check it out
The speaker cabinets have a serial number, and then the panels have their own that is separate. I didnt know that until I looked at mine. Keep that in mind. They keep up with it too because my new Prodigy panels both have a serial number on them.
 

MAGSL3

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The speaker cabinets have a serial number, and then the panels have their own that is separate. I didnt know that until I looked at mine. Keep that in mind. They keep up with it too because my new Prodigy panels both have a serial number on them.
Excellent, thankyou that is very helpful.
 
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